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In this country alone, about 1.5-million Canadians have no idea that they have diabetes. It’s a disease that can cause problems in every part of the body. Without detection and proper treatment, complications may arise such as kidney damage, heart disease, increased risk of infections and nerve damage. It’s more common (and serious) than everyone thinks, meaning regulating your diet is even more important than you realize.
Obesity expert Dr. Yoni Freedhoff has been dubbed a “nutritional watchdog” by the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Read on for Dr. Yoni’s potentially life-saving crash course on diabetes.
3 TYPES OF DIABETES
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells. “Because it’s insulin that regulates the body’s ability to increase the uptake of sugar from the blood stream, without it, blood sugar levels rise,” Dr. Yoni said. This type tends to occur in children and teens. Type 1 diabetes makes up about 10 percent of diabetes cases and those who have this type must inject insulin every day to survive.
Type 2 diabetes used to be considered adult onset diabetes, but now it can also be seen in younger people. Those with Type 2 diabetes grow resistant to insulin over time and obesity is the main factor for its development.
The third type is gestational diabetes, which occurs in pregnant women that develops during their pregnancy. Although gestational diabetes increases the mother’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, it’s not guaranteed. One way to reduce this risk is through regular exercise.
EARLY WARNING SIGNS
Dr. Yoni says that most people with diabetes don’t actually show any symptoms, but their blood test samples would indicate high blood sugar level. For some, symptoms do present themselves, including: increased and frequent urination, increased thirst, blurry vision and weight loss.
People with Type 1 diabetes need insulin in the form of long and short acting insulins or insulin pumps. On the other hand, those with Type 2 diabetes can treat it by making lifestyle changes. The changes include eating a healthier diet and exercising more, which can improve the body’s insulin sensitivity. For more severe cases, some form of medication may be required.
Contrary to popular belief, your sweet tooth won’t necessarily cause diabetes. “It might surprise you, but the data linking sugar consumption directly to the development of diabetes isn’t as strong as you might think,” Dr. Yoni said. However, he still advises everyone to monitor their caloric and sugar intake. This means steering away from liquid sugars from sodas, juices and energy drinks, as well as sugars from processed food and candy. With that being said, this doesn’t mean you have to skip on a slice of your own birthday cake. It’s totally possible to satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard and making it a regular thing. There’s a reason why it’s an apple a day that keeps the doctor away, not a slice of cake. Moderation is the name of the game.